When we’re at work, our brains are processing a phenomenal amount of information every day. We’re replying emails, speaking with colleagues, reading up on the latest news and developments in our fields – and of course undertaking the manifold tasks that comprise the bulk of our workloads.
With all of these factors competing for your audience’s attention, putting together corporate presentations that people will absorb and remember can seem like a tall order.
But fret not, our team of presentation experts have put together some key tips that will help you deliver your presentation content in a way that your audience will be able to properly digest and recall.
Make It Relevant
The most memorable presentations are highly relevant to their audiences and respond to a need. So offer solutions to problems that are pertinent to the people listening.
Essentially, for an audience to be engaged by your corporate presentations, there has to be something in it for them.
It’s important to know exactly who you’re talking to: put in the research time and really embed yourself in your audience’s world. Also remove unnecessary barriers between you and your audience by ditching corporate jargon and waffle, and clarifying any specialist terminology.
Tell an Interesting Story
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: storytelling is everything when it comes to effective corporate presentations. Listening to stories stimulates multiple different parts of the brain and increases retention of the material.
If you treat your presentation as a narrative rather than a proceeding list of facts, your audience will be able to make a personal and emotional connection with your content, which will improve their ability to recall information. It’s no coincidence that brands like Coca Cola, Apple, IKEA and Facebook make telling stories the focus of their content efforts.
Story also necessities a clear structure of beginning, middle and end for your presentation content. Stanford University’s Matt Abrahams highlights that structuring content in a meaningful way makes audiences up to 40% better at retaining it.
Avoid Information Overload
Resist the temptation to try and say everything during your presentation. Your audience simply won’t remember every painstaking detail of your background research and supplementary detail.
Instead, decide on a few key points and ideas that you want communicate so that you can focus audience attention on what matters and get crucial messaging across.
Knowing what’s important makes it easier to determine what content to include based on its relevancy. Only make use of content that supports and adds value to your key points – cut out all the waffle.
This principle should feed directly into your approach to PowerPoint design – whatever you do, don’t use PowerPoint as a teleprompter to read from. Make sure your slides are clutter-free with minimal text and that they each contain a single unit of information. Let visuals lead the way and elaborate on concepts by talking around them.
Contextualise Your Data
Data can be a weird one – if used correctly, they can add weight and credibility to your message, but get it wrong and you risk alienating and confusing your audience.
Numbers are inherently difficult to remember because they little semantic meaning on their own, but it’s what you do with them that counts. The trick is to choose just a few data points that solidify your findings and explain them in context for your audience.
Take this example: ‘Last year, 1.4 billion sheets of paper were needlessly printed in this office’. That number is obviously a lot, but it’s too high to conceptualise. Instead, try something like: ‘If you laid out all the sheets of paper needlessly printed in this office last year, they’d stretch to the moon.’ This latter expression of the same data instantly conjures a memorable image with more semantic meaning, which is more likely to be remembered – although let’s hope the content of your corporate presentation isn’t this dry!
Nobody enjoys listening to a presentation info dump – it’s a passive experience and difficult to remember the details from.
One of the best ways to have your audience to remember what you said is to get them involved in your corporate presentations. Turn them from one-way conversations into open, collaborative dialogues between presenter and audience.
People are taking time out of their schedules to listen to your corporate presentations, so involve them in any way that you can. Make use of interactive presentation ideas like fielding audience questions, making use of live polls and setting short exercises.
People remember things better when they have an active investment in them, and introducing new elements like this helps regain and retain your audience’s attention during your presentation.
End with a Strong Call to Action
Ending your presentation with a call to action gives your audience the immediate opportunity to put what they’ve learnt into practice in a way that reinforces your message.
Inspire your audience to go off and perform a task where they can apply what they’ve learnt in the context of their professional lives. They’ll find it much easier recall what you said once they’ve demonstrated a practical application for themselves.
We’ve discussed tips for putting together the best call to action on this blog – focus it on one thing, make it short and to the point, and use active present-tense verbiage to motivate your audience.
Looking for more tips on how to make your corporate presentations’ slides better? Check out our New Rules of PowerPoint Design.